Hanna town council has authorized the mayor and chief administrative officer to enter into the Electric Distribution System Franchise Agreement Extension with ATCO Electric Ltd.
ATCO has provided Hanna with electricity for several decades with the most recent agreement taking place on June 13, 2013 for an initial term of 10 years with the option of two additional five-year extensions.
The council has already received the notice of intention to extend the agreement and after approval, will become effective on June 12, 2023 for a five year term.
As part of the agreement, the council can choose to have the franchise fee adjusted by ATCO. Rather than raising taxes, changes to the franchise fee would impact every service and resident in Hanna.
“It is another form of tax, but it is another form of tax that municipalities are taking advantage of,” says Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill. “It provides them (with) significant revenue versus raising the tax rates.”
As of 2017, the current franchise fee is 7.5 per cent with the maximum allowable amount for a municipality to charge being 20 per cent.
Neill says that there are no plans to adjust the agreement, but that could change if the council decides to raise or lower the franchise fee.
New library director and programs
The new Director of the Hanna Municipal Library, Darlene Edwards, gave a formal introduction to the council and promoted two new programs that the library will offer.
The first program; 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, debuted on April 19. It is a free program for children who are not yet in school, where they can receive prizes for reading books.
“I believe it is a small prize for every 100 books, with a book prize at 500 books read,” says Edwards.
The second program is a Perennial Exchange being held on May 17.
“If you have nothing to trade that is okay,” says Edwards. “We will have extra plants and donations are always welcome.”
Hanna electronic sign
Laurie Armstrong, Director of Business and Communication, discussed the failing of Hanna’s electronic sign located at the town’s west entrance.
The sign was first purchased in 2008, but harsh climate conditions and deterioration over time have started to take a toll on the sign.
Repairs would cost $7,185.35 via a quote from Daktronics.
Alternatively, the cost for a replacement is estimated to be around $60,000.
While the council decides on how to address the sign, they plan to wait until May 25, to finalize a decision.
Traffic sign changes
Town council discussed a change in the signage located on the intersection between 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street West.
The crosswalk was first introduced after the Feb. 11, 2020 town meeting where a resident suggested that council should change the intersection from a two-way stop into a four-way stop out of concern that their grandchildren may be hit by on-coming vehicles.
CAO Neill proposed to leave the signage as is, remove the flashing sign which leaves two regular signs allowing for it to be used in another location in the future, or moving the flashing crosswalk sign to be installed at one end of the sidewalk crossing with a second one being installed at the opposite end for $5,000 plus tax.
Council moved to remove the flashing sign and leave the existing signs and store it for future use.
Additionally, Coun. Kyle Olsen proposed changing the signage located between 12th Street and Palliser Trail.
Olsen suggested that the current stop sign would be removed and replaced with a yield sign, but council moved to object to the proposal.
Tax bylaw changes
After the April 27, 2022 Council Information Meeting, council moved to provide consent for Bylaw 1024-2022, the 2022 Tax Rate Bylaw.
At the meeting it was decided that the Residential Municipal tax rate would remain unchanged from the 2021 rate and the Non-residential Municipal Tax Rate would be reduced by one per cent.
Additional changes include the Education Property Tax that has seen an increased of 0.0357 per cent for residential properties while non-residential properties will be decreased by 0.1085 per cent.
The Acadia Foundation requisition will also see an increase by 0.729 per cent for both residential and non-residential properties.
Mayor Danny Povaschuck extends concern that Hanna should start saving some funds for infrastructure for the future.